Ogake Mosomi, is a fashion designer, best known for her distinctive bridal creations. She puts her sketching pen down to sit with Lucy Robi and gives us details on her latest style inspiration
When did you know you wanted to become a designer?
I think it was kind of always there. When I was younger I enjoyed art and drawing and I knew I wanted to do something with clothes. It was only when I finished Form Four that I was faced with the question of, “what are you going to study at the university,” and I had to make a decision. I did a six-month pre-university course. I enrolled for both art and law as I was trying to decide between the two. Midway through the course, there was a university fair. I didn’t really much of a portfolio, but they looked at it and gave me a conditional offer based on me getting a minimum grade for the course. That’s when I knew fashion is the way I’m supposed to go.
What did you do after the pre-university course?
I did not have a proper portfolio because the 8-4-4 system does not quite focus on the arts. I enrolled for a Diploma in Fashion and Clothing at the Kent Institute of Art and Design. That was two years to build my portfolio and another three years doing a degree in Fashion Product Innovation.
Why did you choose to focus on bridal?
Initially, this was both about hobby and business, I have been doing this for about six years. We were doing everything, from menswear, women’s wear, kids, just to see what people like. A couple of years down the line, I was getting frustrated because I tend to like a lot of handwork, bead-work and embroidery so I realised that I was putting a lot of effort into regular dresses and not being compensated for it. In 2014. I realised that I needed to focus on one thing and become very good at it. After university, my graduate job was with a bridal designer Jenny Packham. So, that seed was already there even though I hadn’t thought of it as my next step.
What is the process when you design a new collection?
It’s not as fancy as it should be. For us, there is research and looking at sources of inspiration — anything from locations, personalities, our cultural trends, international trends or even the people you work with daily.
Do you design the collection with a particular bride in mind?
Not really, the collection is a chance for us to experiment, try out funky ideas, colour, to push people’s imagination and let them know that it is also possible. Even though they might not order the dress, they might say that they like certain aspects of the collection and try to incorporate it in their own gown.
What types of fabrics do you use?
Right now, lace is trending so it is one of our most popular fabrics.
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What fabric do you think is perfect for bridal? How do you decide this for each bride?
I wouldn’t say there is a perfect fabric. Perfect really depends on the person. What usually happens is that we sit and have a discussion on what you think your wedding dress would be like. Then, we add input of your age, body type, type of wedding, location; all these factors come into play.
How is it designing for the Kenyan bride?
Interesting. The Wedding dress is one of the most important dress a woman wears in her life or a lot of people take it as the most important dress. There is a lot of emotion that goes into it and a lot of thought and many stakeholders surrounding the dress. The dress is not just about the bride, it’s about your mom, grandma, your aunties, fiancé. You are thinking that these are lifetime pictures, so it’s really important.
Have there been moments where the bride likes the dress and other family members don’t?
Ohhh yes. That happens! This year has actually been quite interesting. in one case, a bride had chosen off white and green as her colours but her mom refused. I think I have become the queen of PR and counseling. We encourage brides not to come with anyone to their first appointment. This is to give us chance to explore and solidify the bride’s ideas before bringing in third parties. However, we also tell the bride to consider her family so as not to offend anyone.
Is there a style that is flattering on any bride?
A -line. You can never go wrong with an A- line dress.